Why do we go to church? It’s a very important question we should all ask ourselves. I’m reading a book right now called “The Ragamuffin Gospel
.” It stresses that the church building should not be a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners. I couldn’t agree more.
Thinking of the church building as a hospital, let’s now think of the people inside it in hospital terms. Who would be the doctors? Who would be the patients? What would the ratio of doctors to patients be?
Right away we would probably tag the preacher, elders, and deacons as doctors. Brentwood Hills now has a weekly attendance of around 1300. There are four full-time ministers, 10 elders, and about 40 deacons.
Doing the math, at Brentwood Hills on a Sunday morning, that leaves 54 doctors the responsibility of seeing 1300 patients. Each doctor would have to see an average of 24 patients and do so within time constraints and settings that can often be less than conducive to diagnosing sickness and offering treatment advice. Even if the doctors were allowed to do nothing but see and interact with patients during the hour allotted to worship, they would have 2 and ½ minutes per patient to greet them, listen to their struggles, diagnose their problem, and offer a prescription. That leaves us with only one solution if we’re going to be about seeing patients and helping them like we should.
Some of the patients have to be doctors.
Sometimes we have to switch hats and help other patients who are struggling with the same sicknesses we know best how to treat. In short, we have to give instead of get.
We just finished a renovation project on our auditorium that increased seating capacity to around 1100. A lady stopped me in the parking lot of our church building Sunday morning and asked if we were still having two church services. I said, “Yes ma’am we are.” She became visibly flustered and said, “I just can’t believe with all the smart men we’ve got making decisions and all the money we’ve given that we can’t all meet together in one service.” I explained that having two services would increase the number of people we’d be able to reach on Sunday morning to 2200. It didn’t seem to matter to this lady. She wanted everyone to meet together.
I thought about why she was so adamant about wanting one service. I’m sure the singing would be a lot better because of having everyone together, the kind of goose bump singing every church dreams of experiencing. I’m sure she’d get to see more of her friends if we had one service.
These reasons seem selfish to me. They are inwardly focused. Keeping the hospital analogy it’s almost like this lady wanted us to create a super hospital to heal people, but only the 1300 who were on the patient logs when we began construction. With this mindset no allowance is made for those in our communities on stretchers, those being picked up by ambulances, those who are injured but have no health care insurance.
We have a lot of empty beds in our hospital. We should echo the voice of our Lord and Savior who said:
"….It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: `I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." – Matthew 9:12-13
P.S. The green jersey sold for $180!!!